This is a serious fact in the case of the Beast of Gévaudan. Because every single profesionnal I've asked about it answered the same thing: an animal, let's say a dog for instance, which attacks human being has been trained for it. I agree this is just theorical, but people who believe in consipiracy find the ultimate proof of human involvement, and they're right.
But, because yes, there is a "but", it is not mandatory that human contact went on after the training.
For this chapter, I've called for help. ;-)
As I've done it for my CD-ROM about the case, I've asked Daniel Jumentier, professional trainer for police dogs, first to have raised and breed white shepherds in France. Here are is answers:
One says that an animal who attacks special targets can only do it because he was trained for it. What is you opinion about it?
- After a good conditionning the dog (if it's a dog) reacts according to what he's learnt (with the trainer or on his own) for example if children have been used to prosecute the animal, they will become his first choice prey. So if the attacks are so unique, that's because of training, at least the first months.
20% of the victims of the Beast were grown up men. If the Beast was trained, should we assume that the target of the training was "all kind of human beings"?
- I think the animal learnt everything on the field. Because of his training he will attack women and children first, but man does not scare him: it's a rival the Beast thinks equal. It defends the prey that man wants to get back and will evenetually attack at last ; the Beast flees the number but man himself does not scare it."
A dog trained to attack human beings, left in the wild without master nor shelter, how does it feed?
- An animal conditionned to hate human beings (I don't talk about training here) will go close to houses or herds, but of course if facing a child, his hatred will overpass everything and once the child is dead, if the Beast is hungry..."
One often says tha a dog can walk hundreds of kilometers to get back to its master. What's you opinion?
- Nowadays, I don't believe in it. There have been very rare cases. But in the time of the Beast, things were different (no cars or planes) if the Beast was moved by foot or in a carriage, it would have been able to do the journay backwards."
If a dog actually does it and finds his master dead (or gone, or ...whatever) what does the animal do?
- On his own in the wild, a dog will follow his instinct (good or bad)."
How do you do today to train a dog to attack?
- Dogs are trained following their natural instincts for instance for the bite, we use the instinct of predation. One shakes and throw a piece of clothes in front of the puppy. The cub catches the clothe, bites, grawls and keeps the clothes. The master drops the clothe nd then the cub leavs with his prey, pourd of his catch. Step by step, the struggle for the piece of clothes gets harder and harder, then the "attacker" (as seen i the picture right above) who will hold the clothe which will be replaced by other pieces of clothes, and finally the suit...
Is there an approved method or is it just a matter of feeling?
- Bad trainers raise the aggressivity of their dog, like for the Beast. You make the animal aggressive (usually with bad treatment) and you get a 95 % failure: the ’animal is unable to do a serious job, always between attack and flight and they usually flee. But it's true that some dogs get over it and and their fear make them attack anybody, anywhere."
How young do you have to start to be sure to have a good result with a dog?
- The education of my patrol dogs begins around four months old and the method is game and positive reinforcement. This has nothing to do with a conditionning of aggressivity based on bad treatment, which can be done with a young puppy, but which needs to have a mature dog."
How can ou tell if a puppy will have good disposal for training?
- I test my puppies when they're 6 weeks old: instinct of predation, reaction to stress, etc... You can tell righ away which ones will be patrol dogs and which ones will be good for families. I provide dogs for policemen as much as for blind people, I can't make any mistake."
Are there dogs more likely to be trained than others?
- Today the most perfect dogs for training are the shepherd races (German, French, Belgians etc....)
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One says war dogs did not exist anymore in 1764. True or false?
- Absolutely false: war mastiffs did not have any interest during charges to break the ennemy line - the ennemy being on foot or on horse - because of the use of powder and guns. Turkish soldiers in the XVIIth and XVIIIth century used war dogs against the Russians. In 1778 the turkish war dogs make an Austrian patrol flee during the siege of Dubnitza. France faces new war dogs in 1740-1748 and Louis XVth (stil in place by the time of the Beast) faces english and scottish soldiers moving in line, accompanied by mastiffs. 1798-1799 Bonaparte uses war dogs in his Egyptian campains.
Second Empire: France gets involved in Mexico and mastiff are used in 1861 by soldiers of colonel DUPIN as much as the compagnie franche de ZACATECAS. The newspapers in this time complained about the use of Bordeaux mastiff which got very quickly the worst reputation of man-eaters. The Iberian colonies still use the Cuba mastiff, in 1769 soldiers use dogs to kill natives. During the war od secession in 1861-1865, dogs are often representend in paintings depicting battles southern/northern. Charles Xth uses dogs against ABD EL KADER in 1830. As a conclusion: in 1155 a caninne section is created in Sain Malo, composed by 24 mastiff which were freed at nioght to patrol, this will last until the end of the XVIIIth cenutry.
But if historians often refer to war dogs, one can not find anything about the training. Anyway Alfred Edmund BREHM (1829 - 1884), german naturalist,
gives creepy details about how it was done in Cuba to train dogs to go after slaves on the run:
"These animals were confined in a kennel grilled like a cage. Young, they were fed with the blood of other animals, but in small quantity. Once they became bigger, they were whowed, once in a while, on leur montrait de temps en temps, au-dessus de la cage, the figure of an Indian or a negro, braided bamboo. The body was filled with blood and entrails. The dogs got angry but were always held by the cage. With time, the figure was put closer to the cage. However they were given each day less food. At last, the figure was thrown in the cage, and while they were eating veraciously the entrails, the masters encouraged them with petting. This way, their hatred of black people grew as much as they loved white people. When they thought the education was complete, they were sent to hunt down slaves ion the lose. The dogs would come back to the kennel at night, their jaws hidiously covered with blood."
Still here? Because we haven't exactly talked about the Beast yet.
So let's summ up everything we've seen here:
- An animal trained to attack human being will first try to appease his "Pavlov reflex" before feeding.
- A trained animal wholoes his master will go on doing what he's been trained for.
- An animal separated from his master can ty to get back to him (easy in the mid XVIIIth century because there were no roads).
- War dogs were not used anymore in front line since the use ow gunpowder, but they were nonetheless part of the army long after the case of the Beast, at least that's what we can deduce with this next picture:
I even have an anecdote (which I still have to verify with a war historian) : Frédéric le Grand, King of Prussia, would have used
dogs for mail transport during the Seven Years War, which ended in 1763. ;-)
One last tiny info: an animal can be trained (or conditionned) for "x" months to attack, then flee (or is set free): even if ilt does not have a master anymore, the animal will systematically but not only attack man.
With all these elements, you can make your on mind. I won't give my opinion here because it's here.